January 20, 2015

In continuing with what I wrote yesterday, I want to clarify some things that I may have left unclear.  I do not want to be misinterpreted or misunderstood.  But I do want my position to be understood clearly.  I had written that I believe good deeds without the accompanying faith in Jesus Christ are worthless in regards to gaining entrance into heaven, and I am not backing down from that statement.  My flesh and conscience wishes it was different but the bible is very clear: only a those who believe in the Son of God, Jesus, and that He provided salvation for all through His death and resurrection will enter into heaven.

Now there are two points I wish to touch.  One is that many believe there are many roads that lead to heaven.  Well, in a sense that can be considered true.  I believe a better way to word that is that there are many roads that lead to the throne room where we will all stand before the Great White Throne of Judgment.  Make no mistake, we will all stand before Jesus Christ, in all His risen glory bestowed upon Him by His Father, and await His judgment.  It will not matter if we are Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Maoist, Communist, Socialist, Zoroastorist, atheist, whatever-you-believe-ist.  We will all stand before Him.  There is only way for anyone to get to the other side of that throne, and that is if we have the mark of the redeemed placed upon us by God.  There is no other way.  One must believe in the risen Savior, Jesus Christ.

Now those who do good deeds and are not a Christian will not go to heaven.  It is a black and white issue.  There is no gray area that will allow anyone to slip by.  No amount of good works will get anyone into heaven.  They will lessen the severity of the punishment one might suffer in Hell (and I do believe there will be a Hell, and the devil will not reign there either) but suffer they will for not repenting of their sins.  Judged and found wanting because they would not believe on Him who was sent to redeem them.

We cannot be confused about the love God has for us.  We cannot simply believe that He would not create a standard we cannot meet nor believe that it is completely unfair that a person who was good in their lifetime should suffer in eternity.  It is not fair, by human standards.  But God is not human.  He is not one of us.  God is good, loving, merciful and ever graceful to us, but all of these emanate from His Holiness, and His holiness cannot allow sin to exist in His presence.  Simply put, only an acknowledgement of the work of the cross can enable us to pass to the right of Christ on His judgment throne.

January 19, 2015

I wish I could believe that getting into heaven was as simple as doing acts of random kindness, treating others with respect and dignity and being a good person who did a lot of good for everybody I met.  I wish that my good deeds would stacked against my bad deeds and the scales tip in the favor of the good.  Actually for me, it would better if I could believe there was no heaven and no hell so I wouldn’t have to worry about how I behaved.  But for me it is not possible.  My Savior had His sights on me from a young age and I was His.

We all want to believe that those we knew who died have moved onto heaven.  I hear the comment all the time, “I know they are in heaven watching down on me and smiling at me, encouraging me as I live my life.”  I just can’t reconcile this way of hope with the way of hope that Jesus preached.  He did preach a lot of being better people and love thy neighbor, but He seemed to also preach that it was not possible to practice His preaching without first submitting to God through faith.  I think what happens is we confuse the meaning.  Jesus did not stop at outward acts of kindness, He emphasized that these outward acts had no value if the inner thoughts were not in line.  If we still thought that bad things about people then the acts of good did not matter as much.

We, as a race, cherry-pick the teachings of the bible.  We want to take what makes us comfortable and adapt those concepts to our lives.  The other parts that we don’t want to agree with, we can just ignore the meaning and say it doesn’t apply to us, or just ignore it.  But Jesus said a lot of things that make me uncomfortable.  A lot of things I do not want to accept or practice.  But if I am to accept that He was resurrected from the dead then I have to accept all that He taught, especially when He taught that He is the only way into Heaven.  And I have to accept that what He said is not religion or a series of religious rituals, it’s faith in Him and my belief that He came to die, sent by His Father, for my sins.

It does not matter what I choose to think or believe.  It does not matter how if I change God into the image I want and change what His standard so it is one I can meet.  My sin outweighs any good I do on my own ability, and I cannot get around that fact.